The first concept worth mentioning here is the powerful plug-in hybrid drive. Vehicles equipped with these drives can reach speeds of up to 130 km/h and have a range of 80 to 100 kilometers, powered solely by electricity. At ZF, this type of drive is named EVplus – an electric drive supported by an internal combustion engine.
At the other end of the performance spectrum are the 48-volt mild hybrid systems. With these drives, the electric motor is used to provide additional power when the vehicle is first started and during acceleration, and also converts the energy generated in braking procedures to electricity, which is then stored in the battery. The new 8-speed automatic transmission is completely suitable for use in all of these hybrid concepts and can achieve top electrical performances between 24 and 160 kilowatts.
This explains why the amount of work that needed to be carried out on the new transmission was more than just technical fine-tuning. To meet the requirements of the new plug-in hybrid vehicle models, a powerful electric motor had to be integrated into the limited installation space within the transmission housing (torque converter bell housing).